Thursday, May 26, 2011


My team and I (more about that later) recently returned from the National Stationery Show in New York and I am so excited! OK, I admit that I pretty much stay excited...kind of like Francie, our little canine bundle of "Corky" enthusiasm. Still, don't discount the creative high that I'm on.

The show is huge...thousands of artists, card and stationery companies, licensing groups and suppliers all come together in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in NYC and "set up shop" for the myriad of buyers who make their way up and down aisle after aisle.

While every artist probably attends with the hope of hitting it BIG, the reality of that happening is close to the likelihood of an actor being discovered in a soda shop in Hollywood. Slim, but not impossible.

I was surrounded by veterans of the show this year. Since this is only my second time to exhibit there, I'm still asking lots of questions. I gleaned valuable insights from these "neighbors" and made some very talented friends in the process. One observation: in whatever field you're in, don't be afraid to ask questions. The worst that can happen is someone saying, "I don't want to talk to you." This actual phrase has been said to me and I lived to tell about it.

While Tracey Buchanan Studio is just a little fish (a guppie, maybe) in a vast ocean of paper products, I am thrilled to be part of this industry that continues to grow despite cyberworld's dominating role in our methods of communication. I definitely email more than I write notes, which require a stamp to fly from my house to someone else's. But it doesn't take a psychologist (a shout-out to my mother, who practiced being a shrink for a couple decades and now assists me, her world-renown daughter, in the highly glamorous world of prints and cards. She is my "team" right now)...what was I saying? Oh, yes. It doesn't take a psychologist to grasp the fact that a physical piece of paper with actual handwriting on it is more dear to us than a hastily written, easily deleted item in our inbox.

The card industry is actually addressing (pardon the pun) the reality of social networking. My cards will be available on two different e-sites that are blending technology with a personal touch. One is Card Gnome and the other is EnGreet. When you go to one of these sites, you purchase a card online, write a personal note inside, which looks hand-written, and then the company prints it and mails it for you. It's a cool concept that's really taking off.

What a great field to be in. I love my work and, yes, it is still work even though I don't clock in and out of a 9-5 job. But getting back to this year's NSS -what's so wonderful about attending an artist-driven tradeshow is the opportunity to see and meet hundreds of extraordinarily talented people who are pursuing their dreams. Very few of us will become another Mary Englebreit, but why should we want to?

We each have our own voice, our own style, our own absolutely, totally unique gift that we can contribute. We can copy another artist or author, but we'll never be truly successful until we make peace with our own talents, until we say what only we can say.